PKBatth's Travel Journals

PKBatth PK Batth

What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

volunteer in a needy community, experience a new culture through volunteering, meet new people, gain professional experience, change the world [somehow], adventure travel

  • From Windsor, Canada
  • Currently in San Ignacio, Belize

Belize 2011 - Mission Accepted

Reuniting with Belize, my long lost love! This trip is more than a getaway, as I have some serious goals I hope to achieve during my time in beautiful Belize.

Hello Hospital!

Belize San Ignacio, Belize  |  Aug 15, 2011
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 Once the door closed behind her, I had to go straight to the window because I felt like I was about to hurl! I was glad I didn’t and was able to stay strong for the patient’s sake. 

Dear Journal,

     This week was my first in the local hospital, the San Ignacio Public Hospital, located slightly outside town. I was placed in the section call Out-Patient Department, or OPD. This area was essentially the clinic portion of the hospital for all cases that were not urgent.

     I began working in the triage area, where they take in the information of the patients, took their vitals, assigned them doctors and enter them into the BHIS (Belize Healthcare Information System.) The volume of patients that came in was shocking to me.  In the morning alone, over 60 patients came in, with only 2 doctors available. It was hard for me to grasp how the doctors working could maintain their intellectual integrity with treating such a high quantity of patients within a few hours.

      Between 10:30 am – 11:30 am, OPD fills out all prescriptions for dressings and injections. Nurse Alphonzo Singh allowed me to shadow him during this time period. We went into a private room suited with a bed and a shelf of medical supplies. Nurse Singh called in the first patient. She was a middle-aged woman with her entire left hand wrapped in a large bandage. I figured it was a wound on her palm, but I still waited in anticipation as to see what lay below that bandage. What I saw completely blew me away.       This woman had cut a large tip of her ring finger off. In order to help regain skin onto her fingertip, the doctors that treated her stitched her finger to an incision they made on her palm. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen. There was blood all over the incision and her finger was fairly swollen. She was in a large amount of pain. I was able to help out by giving suggestions on how to remove the gauze that inflicted the least amount of pain. I was right in there, handing medical supplies needed and helping in any way they needed me to. It was easy to notice the immense amount of pain the woman was in. I offered my hand for her to hold and helped her breathe deeply. She squeezed my hand so hard, I thought she was going to break it! But I was willing to take the pain; I could only imagine what she was going through. After the cleaning and new dressing was applied, she thanked me and went about her way. Once the door closed behind her, I had to go straight to the window because I felt like I was about to hurl! I was glad I didn’t and was able to stay strong for the patient’s sake.

     The next patient was just as intense. An older gentleman came in on crutches. He put up his very bowed left leg onto the patient bed. I figured it was severely broken, but then he pulled up his pant leg and unraveled the bandage around his mid shin. He had a wound two inches deep and three inches wide going across his shin. It was a healthy pink color but had a yellowish fluid inside. Talking to the patient, I learned that this injury was over eight months old! He had fallen off a high place and his leg hit a metal piece of some sort. For five months he figured it would heal itself and never went into the hospital. After feeling intense pain, he decided to go in to have it checked out. I was in complete shock that he didn’t fall victim to a blood infection given the size and time period the wound was exposed. We had to remove the built up fluid, and dress and treat the wound as well. His doctors were waiting for it to fully heal before fixing the broken tibia.

      I saw a few more stitched wounds that needed to be taken out or treated with anti-bacterial cream. I also witnessed a few injections. After that hour, I took vitals for the patients waiting to see a doctor and small blood samples from the babies having symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea, to help prevent an outbreak of any infectious diseases such as malaria or dengue.      

       I had no idea that they would throw me right into their medical mayhem, but was glad they did. The nervous energy I had at first very quickly disappeared and they really made me felt like I was helping out. I still haven’t gasped how much experience I have already gained with patient interactions, but I know I am very appreciative of what I did get to do.

Thanks for the hospital hospitality, Belize.



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